Friday, December 31, 2010

"It appears that Sony's PS3 has been fatally compromised. At the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, a team named 'fail0verflow' revealed that they had calculated the Private Keys, which would let them or anyone else generate signed software for the PS3. Additionally, they also claim to have a method of jailbreaking the PS3 without the use of a Dongle, which is the current method. If all these statements are true, this opens the door to custom firmware, and homebrew software. Assuming that Sony doesn't take radical action and invalidate their private keys, this could mean that Jailbreaking is viable on all PS3, regardless of their firmware! From the article: 'Approximately a half hour in, the team revealed their new PS3 secrets, the moment we all were waiting for. One of the major highlights here was, dongle-less jailbreaking by overflowing the bootup NOR flash, giving complete control over the system. The other major feat, was calculating the public private keys (due to botched security), giving users the ability to sign their own SELFs. Following this, the team declared Sony's security to be EPIC FAIL!'"

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top 10 Stories of 2010

Sony and Microsoft Jump into Motion Control Market with Move and Kinect

Microsoft's Kinect and the PlayStation Move were unveiled in 2009, but neither had a name when 2010 got underway. That changed in March when Sony officially christened their controller; and by the time E3 rolled around, the battle to "refresh" the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 with motion controls had been joined.
Kinect would receive considerable scrutiny for reportedly being unable to scan players while they were sitting in the run-up to launch; nevertheless, it would go on to sell more than 2.5 million units thanks in part to a well-orchestrated marketing campaign that kicked off with Oprah handing them out for free to a screaming audience. The Move's reception, meanwhile, has been a bit murkier. While Sony sent out a release claiming that 4.1 million units had been sold worldwide, they later clarified that they actually meant the units had been sold to retailers.
It's unclear how much momentum the two peripherals will have through 2011; but for the moment, it seems as if Microsoft's gamble with hands-free gaming has paid off.

Angry Birds Leads Mobile Gaming Charge with 50 Million Downloads

Few games have been as successful as Angry Birds, which has become the face of mobile gaming meteoric rise in the handheld gaming space. Released in December 2009, the simple puzzler has since been downloaded more than 50 million times, and has spread rapidly from iOS to platforms like Android. It'll be jumping to the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii next year, and Finnish developer Rovio is looking to expand into everything from TV shows to toys.
As Nintendo prepares to launch the successor to the Nintendo DS, they will surely be keeping an eye on Angry Birds and other games like it. While hardly the first salvo in the battle between mobile platforms and handhelds like the DS and PSP, Angry Birds is a clear shot across the bow in what is sure to be a fierce competition heading into the new year.

Taliban Multiplayer Faction Gets Medal of Honor Banned from Military Shops

The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have been something of a third-rail for videogames. While EA's Medal of Honor reboot didn't suffer the same fate as Atomic Games' ill-fated Six Days in Fallujah -- dropped only weeks after initially being announced -- it still took a beating for making it possible for putting the action and Afghanistan and allowing players to take the role of the Taliban.
Medal of Honor was ultimately banned from the Army and Air Force Exchange Services shops on U.S. bases, which include 49 GameStop stores. The ban stood even after EA changed the name "Taliban" to "Opposing Force," but the reboot did go onto respectable sales (two million in first two weeks) despite the controversy and middling reviews. Nevertheless, the furor in the mainstream media and EA's decision to change the "Taliban" designation paints a picture of a medium that is still widely seen as immature by the public at large.

All Points Bulletin Launches, Shuts Down Three Months Later

After five years of development, Realtime Worlds' ambitious massively multiplayer title All Points Bulletin was released to disappointing reviews; and things only got worse from there. Six weeks later, the game that was expected to attract millions had a mere 130,000 registered users, and Realtime Worlds was inadministration. With APB being shopped to prospective buyers, Realtime Worlds announced that they wereshutting down the game's servers in September -- barely more than two months after launch. K2 Network finally purchased the property in November and plans to reboot it as the free-to-play APB: Reloaded in 2011.
The studio's painful demise has inspired lasting bitterness on the part of some former developers. After accusing Grand Theft Auto creator and founder Dave Jones of "pissing away millions" and failing to pay the developers for their work, one spouse vowed that if she couldn't find a welfare charity for her horse, she would "barter her last possessions to have a fork lift driver dump his 800kg bloody carcass on the top of [Jones'] favourite car."

EA Goes After the Used Games Market with "Project Ten Dollar" and Online Passes

After testing the waters with Dragon Age, EA went full speed ahead with "Project Ten Dollar" in 2010. Mass Effect 2, Battlefield Bad Company 2 and other EA titles were released with one-time codes that could be redeemed for "free" downloadable content. That was nothing compared to what EA did with flagship sports titles Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 and Madden NFL 11 though.
The codes included with Madden and Tiger Woods unlock their respective online modes; meaning that those buying used have to spend an additional $10 to play online. Other publishers have been watching the program closely; while Activision's Bobby Kotick assailed them for "not being in the best interest of the gamer," THQ introduced their own online pass for UFC 2010. With Dragon Age 2 set include a redeemable code, it seems as if Project Ten Dollar won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

Gearbox Brings Duke Nukem Forever Back From the Dead

When 3D Realms cut the Duke Nukem Forever team loose after more than a decade of development, it looked as if the project that had long since become an industry punchline had finally died a merciful death. Fast forward to the end of 2010 though, and Gearbox appears poised to yank the final nail out of Duke's coffin.
Gearbox says the shooter only needs some minor polishing ahead of its scheduled release; and to prove it, they brought a playable demo with them to PAX 2010. Duke fans can thank the handful of ex-3D Realms employees who worked on the game in their spare time; as well as Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford, who had briefly worked on Duke Nukem Forever before leaving to found his own studio. It's set to launch on the PS3, PC and Xbox 360 in early 2011, at which point the underworld will become very cold indeed.

NBA Elite 11 Cancellation Results in Big Changes at EA

It's not uncommon for games to get canceled, but this particular cancellation has had far-reaching consequences for one of the pillars of EA's business. After running neck-and-neck with NBA 2K11 in 2009, EA hoped to capture the basketball simulation market with the re-branded NBA Elite. Instead, they ended up ceding the basketball simulation market entirely to 2K Sports while "The Passion of Andrew Bynum" became a punchline across the industry.
The joke is in reference to a now-famous video in which Lakers player Andrew Bynum is stuck in the "Jordan Wings" pose at half-court during the demo. That wasn't the only problem though, as the development team struggled to implement dual analog controls and the marketing team struggled against the momentum 2K generated by putting Michael Jordan on their cover. Later, even EA admitted that NBA Elite "was going to be a bad game."
The fiasco resulted in EA restructuring its studio leadership structure; the publisher's NBA license being handed over Tiburon and layoffs at EA Canada. NBA Elite 12 is reportedly in development, but EA has a long way to go before they recover the standing with basketball fans that they enjoyed as recently as last June.

Nintendo Reveals the Successor to the DS Three Months Early

The successor to the Nintendo DS was supposed to stay under wraps until E3; but thanks to some aggressive investigation on the part of the Japanese media, Nintendo was forced to confirm the new handheld in a terse press release only days before the DSi XL was scheduled to launch in North America. Afterward, gamers were left to speculate on how exactly Nintendo would pull off the promised 3D effect without forcing users to wear special glasses.
During E3, users were dazzled by what turned out to be some very solid 3D; but during a September press conference, Nintendo revealed that the 3DS will launch at 25,000 yen in Japan, meaning that the device could cost as much as $300 in North America. And while the 3DS is sure to get plenty of mainstream buzz when it launches in March 2011, it will face tough competition as mobile platforms vie for a piece of the market traditionally dominated by Nintendo.

The Videogame Industry Has its Day in Court

In November, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for Schwarzenegger v. EMA, which is a critical test of the protection afforded the videogame industry under the First Amendment. If the court opts to uphold the California law criminalizing the sale of mature-rated titles to minors, it will have far reaching effects on which games are developed and sold.
During the questioning, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia asked if Grimm's Fairy Tales should be banned as well; and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked by games had been singled out for special treatment compared to comics and films. So far so good; but while the California law has been repeatedly struck down in the past, the decision by the Supreme Court remains very much up in the air.
The final decision is expected in June 2011. You can find our breakdown of the case here.

The Infinity Ward Meltdown

In what may be the most shocking development of the year, Infinity Ward was effectively dismantled only months after Modern Warfare 2 broke sales records; dismissing founders Jason West and Vince Zampella on charges of insubordination. The result is what looks to be a protracted legal battle between West and Zampella, Activision and now Electronic Arts, which was recently added to Activision's official complaint.
West and Zampella have since founded Respawn Entertainment and signed on with the EA Partners Program, bringing as many as 46 former Infinity Ward employees with them. Infinity Ward has been restocked; but it may have been supplanted by Treyarch, which saw Call of Duty: Black Ops rake in more than $1 billion in sales. The future is murky, as Activision also brought in Sledgehammer Games to work on yet another offshoot of the franchise.
The case is expected to proceed in mid-2011; and with charges of insubordination, sabotage and "pretextual investigations" flying around over one of gaming's biggest franchises, it figures to get even uglier. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Black Ops for PS3 - No Fix

In the five weeks since PS3 owners started a petition to demand a refund for Black Ops because it's a broken mess for many players, over 8,800 signatures have been posted. Although the UK trade authority Trading Standards has said that a 1979 Sale of Goods Act technically entitles consumers to a refund on a faulty purchased product, we'll have to see what Activision's lawyers think of that if it would ever even get to that point. Still, there's no denying that's a hefty number of signatures.

Lag, a lower resolution than the 360 version, host migration and frame rate issues are among the main complaints about the PS3 version. Although Treyarch says they are listening to the PS3 gamers out there and are no doubt working to patch what they can, it hasn't really done much to satisfy anyone who still has issues after all the patches to date.

Meanwhile, their Community Manager doesn't seem to be that bothered about the whole thing from the looks of his Twitter account. A major complaint on the popular forums for Black Ops over the last month is that people feel that Treyarch is just ignoring their calls to fix the existing problems. While I don't believe Treyarch actively intends to alienate part of their fan base through a lack of communication, they don't appear to be fixing it either.

Do you think this online petition will change anything now that it's quickly reaching 10,000 signatures?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Blizzard contract infringement

Blizzard, creator of the popular online game World of Warcraft (WoW), recently suffered a setback in its litigation against MDY Industries, which sells Glider – a software "bot" that automatically plays some of the early levels of the game. The Ninth Circuit reversed a $6.5 million judgment for Blizzard, finding no liability for secondary copyright infringement. A party may be liable for secondary infringement if it either (1) intentionally induced another person's direct infringement (known as "contributory infringement") or (2) had the right and ability to control another's infringing activities and derived a financial benefit from those activities (known as "vicarious infringement"). In either case, direct infringement must be established before secondary liability can attach.

To establish secondary infringement against MDY, Blizzard had to show that Glider users infringed Blizzard's copyright by violating a Terms of Use (ToU) provision that prohibits the use of "cheats, bots, 'mods,' and/or hacks." The appeals court held that WoW players who used Glider in violation of the ToU did not infringe Blizzard's copyright. Thus, MDY could not be secondarily liable for infringement.

The decision was a mixed bag of good news and bad news for the parties – as well as their customers. Although the court exonerated MDY for copyright infringement, it found the "bot" maker liable for violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In addition, the court ordered a trial on Blizzard's claim that MDY tortiously interfered with Blizzard's user agreements. While WoW players may be happy with the ruling that license and ToU violations do not necessarily constitute copyright infringement, they might be surprised to learn they do not actually own their copies of the WoW software program, according to the court's decision.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

PC Gaming For Windows 8

Despite numerous claims to the contrary, it's not true that PC gaming is dead. But Microsoft's support of the platform has largely been dead for many years now; other than the Games for Windows Live initiative (which many would say pales in comparison to Valve's offering with Steam), Microsoft hasn't done much in the space of PC games -- although, to its credit, it did announce that Age of Empires Online,Microsoft Flight, and Fable III would be coming to the platform.
Now a source has told TechRadar (via CVG) that "Windows 8 will represent a real new push into PC gaming" for Microsoft. The source also claimed, "Gaming will be a key component for the whole OS."
While that certainly sounds nice, we've heard things like this before; gaming was supposed to be much more central to Windows with the launch of Vista, and that never really quite worked out. We've also not seen PC versions of several big name games from Microsoft including Gears of War 2 and every Halo game released after Halo 2 -- including Halo Wars, which seemed like an absolute no-brainer as an RTS game developed byAge of Empires developer Ensemble Studios.
It'll be a difficult task to become a prominent player in the PC space with competitors like Steam, which has arguably become the de facto Xbox Live-style service for a large segment of the PC gaming audience. There's also an increasingly large group of people gaming on Macs, and there are those who might not upgrade their operating system if they're content with Windows 7 or whatever they're currently using, which would limit the number of people that any gaming-centric features in Windows 8 could be exposed to.
Microsoft will have an uphill battle to climb in order to make a significant impact in the PC gaming space. If the source is correct and that's something being planned for Windows 8 -- which wouldn't come as a complete surprise, as Microsoft has at least spoken about supporting PC gaming more -- we should begin to hear about it over the next few years.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mouse and Keyboard on Xbox 360

While most Xbox 360 games make using a control pad enjoyable, there are still a lot of people who prefer using a mouse and keyboard, especially on shooters. This peripheral lets you combine the best of both worlds.
The XIM series of controller adapters for the Xbox 360 have been around for a while now, but they've been tricky to use and expensive. The new XIM3, however, seems to have a fix for both those problems.
For one, while previous models were a little...ghetto, the XIM3 is housed in a classy LCD box, which hopefully makes connection and configuration a cinch.
It'll also be cheaper than the last version, which came in at USD$200, because it no longer needs to use specific forms of wired controller to connect to the Xbox 360 (instead just using the standard, official wired controller).
The XIM3 works by acting as a "translator" or "bridge" between your Xbox 360 and PC peripherals. You plug your PC's keyboard and mouse into the XIM3, then plug it into the Xbox 360, and it's good to go.
It of course won't appeal to everybody, especially since so many big shooters get their own PC versions anyway, but if you want to play something like Halo Reach with some more precise controls, this looks like a good way to do it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Uncharted 3

Who else is excited for this game?

Uncharted 2 winning game of the year last year we could only expect things to get better.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kinect Hacks: Sex game interface

It's finally happened: They've come up with a way to touch virtual breasts using the Kinect sensor. ThriXXX, a company that makes (you guessed it) sex games, has announced that it's created a Kinect hack to utilize the sensor as a control input for its "sim" games.

Right now the Kinect functionality is limited, though thriXXX plans to add -- yikes -- support for full-body gesture and voice commands. An alpha release is planned for early 2011 and will patch support for Kinect into all games using the company's proprietary thriXXX engine.

Original Article:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Take a look around the internet and see what the biggest complaint about Bethesda's games are. It's that damn engine they're all built on. Even people who would sacrafice their first born child in order to defend the honor of an Elder Scrolls or Fallout game readily admit that Gamebyro engine had its issues. Thankfully,Nick Breckon, community manager at Bethesda, confirmed that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is running on a brand new engine.

Breckon tweeted, "We can now confirm that the TES V: Skyrim engine is all-new. And it looks fantastic."

I'm pretty sure this is good news to all reading right now. Actually, I'd like to find out if that statement is true. Is anyone, anywhere sad to see the Gamebyro engine go away?

Original Article :

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Kratos in Mortal Kombat 9

News just broke that the Playstation 3 version of Mortal Kombat 9 will contain a playable guest character. Kratos, from God of War, will be ripping heads off alongside the typical MK warriors. The report mentions that he will not have any single player story mode content, but will be fully functioning in VS mode.

What will Xbox 360 get?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Playstation Phone

Following a "spy video" of Sony's unannounced PlayStation-branded mobile phone leaked to the internetearlier this week, a second video emerged Friday showing a much clearer view of the device.
The video, uploaded Friday by seemingly anonymous YouTube user xxmajstor, gives us a much clearer view of the device, showing a unit cosmetically similar (if not indistinguishable from) the one seen in leaked photosin October.
A "PlayStation" button is clearly seen on the screen several times throughout the video, though the person handling the camera fails to click on it.
Sony will likely unveil this device officially at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January. For now, check out the brand new video below.